REDMOND, Wash., January 12, 2018 (Planetary Resources) – Planetary Resources today announced the successful launch of the Arkyd-6, a 6U CubeSat, containing a demonstration of technology designed to detect water resources in space. The team has already begun to receive telemetry from the spacecraft. The data obtained from the Arkyd-6 will be valuable in the development of the Arkyd-301, Planetary Resources’ next spacecraft platform and the beginning of the company’s space resource exploration program.
LONGUEUIL, Quebec (CSA PR) — After all of 2017’s amazing moments and space discoveries, we have another exciting year ahead of us! From mapping an asteroid to sending a Canadian to space, here are five key projects that will make 2018 a year to remember for the Canadian Space Agency.
January–December 2018 – Canadian health science experiments will be conducted aboard the International Space Station
As space agencies from around the world are preparing to send people farther into the solar system, keeping astronauts safe and healthy during long missions will be critical. Canadian science conducted aboard the International Space Station (ISS) will help us better understand and offset the harmful effects of space on the human body (e.g. radiation exposure, which is a risk factor for cataracts and cancer; bone loss; muscle shrinkage; arterial stiffness; and weaker immune system).
The work we do, which will continue in 2018, helps the United States maintain its world leadership in space exploration and scientific discovery. Launches, discoveries and more exploration await in the year ahead.
An international fleet of spacecraft will be launched in 2018 to explore the Moon, Mars, Mercury and the Sun. Two sample-return spacecraft will enter orbit around asteroids while a third spacecraft will be launched to search for asteroids that contain water that can be mined.
NASA will also launch its next exoplanet hunting spacecraft in March. And the space agency will ring in 2019 with the first ever flyby of a Kuiper Belt object.
And, oh yes, Elon Musk is launching his car in the direction of Mars. (more…)
GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — OSIRIS-REx is continuing outbound cruise operations, en route to arrival in August of 2018 at the asteroid Bennu. The spacecraft is currently 29.6 million miles (47.6 million kilometers) from Earth and is executing a program designed to study and reduce the presence of water on the spacecraft.
Video Caption: Asteroid mining is the key to our future expansion into space. See the vision of Planetary Resources in our latest video short featuring Dante Lauretta, Ph.D. and also Tory Bruno of United Launch Alliance.
LUXEMBOURG, November 29, 2017 (Luxembourg PR) – The Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, represented by the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Economy, Étienne Schneider, and the Cabinet Office of Japan, represented by Masaji Matsuyama, Minister of State for Space Policy, signed today in Tokyo a memorandum of cooperation on exploration and commercial utilization of space resources.
Within its SpaceResources.lu initiative, Luxembourg offers commercial companies an attractive overall environment for space resource exploration and utilization related activities, including but not limited to a legal regime. The Grand Duchy is the first European country to offer a legal and regulatory framework addressing the capability of ownership of space resources and laying down the regulations for the authorization and the supervision of such missions in space.
The five-year cooperation agreement between Luxembourg and Japan covers the exchange of information and expertise on the exploration and commercial utilization of space resources and intends to further enhance cooperation in the field of space activities. The exchange of information may cover all the issues of the exploration and commercial utilization of space resources, including legal, regulatory, technological, economic, and other aspects.
Luxembourg’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy Etienne Schneider declared:
After the agreements signed with Portugal and the United Arab Emirates, this is another important step forward in enhancing international cooperation. Our common approach and goals will surely open new collaboration opportunities. The agreement is a solid recognition of our SpaceResources.lu initiative, especially as Japan and more precisely JAXA have a strong experience in space missions and have been initiators of the renowned Hayabusa missions to collect samples from an asteroid and return them to Earth.
PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — Astronomers recently scrambled to observe an intriguing asteroid that zipped through the solar system on a steep trajectory from interstellar space-the first confirmed object from another star.
Now, new data reveal the interstellar interloper to be a rocky, cigar-shaped object with a somewhat reddish hue. The asteroid, named ‘Oumuamua by its discoverers, is up to one-quarter mile (400 meters) long and highly-elongated-perhaps 10 times as long as it is wide. That aspect ratio is greater than that of any asteroid or comet observed in our solar system to date. While its elongated shape is quite surprising, and unlike asteroids seen in our solar system, it may provide new clues into how other solar systems formed.
PARIS (ESA PR) — M-Argo is designed as ESA’s first CubeSat to enter interplanetary space.
Studied in the Concurrent Design Facility, ESA’s highly networked facility for designing novel missions, the ‘Miniaturised Asteroid Remote Geophysical Observer’, or M-Argo, is a nanospacecraft based on the CubeSat design employing standardised 10 cm cubic units within which electronic boards can be stacked and subsystems attached.
PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — A spacecraft destined to explore a unique asteroid will also test new communication hardware that uses lasers instead of radio waves.
The Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) package aboard NASA’s Psyche mission utilizes photons — the fundamental particle of visible light — to transmit more data in a given amount of time. The DSOC goal is to increase spacecraft communications performance and efficiency by 10 to 100 times over conventional means, all without increasing the mission burden in mass, volume, power and/or spectrum.
Video Caption: Planetary Resources is embarking on the world’s first commercial deep space exploration mission. The purpose is to identify and unlock the critical water resources necessary for human expansion in space. Sourcing water is the first step to creating a civilization in space. Water is used for life support functions and can also be refined into rocket propellant. The initial mission will identify the asteroids that contain the best source of water, and will simultaneously provide the vital information needed to build a commercial mine which will harvest water for use in space.
Editor’s Note: This is very cool. But, when? I understand the need for promotional videos, but they often serve as placeholders. In lieu of an actual mission/demonstrable progress, here’s a video of what we’re going to do eventually. Here’s a profile of our ground crew.
I’m a little puzzled by Planetary Resources. It was formed on Jan. 1, 2009, and emerged from stealth mode in April 2012. They launched one CubeSat from the space station but said virtually nothing about it after launch (not a good sign). A follow-on Earth orbit tech demo sat was scheduled for 2015, but it still hasn’t launched. They announced a Kickstarter to display selfies in orbit but later canceled that mission and refunded the money. They announced an Earth orbiting constellation that would monitor crops from orbit. Then they canceled that program after raising $21.1 million in Series A investment to fund it.
They had this big press conference back in 2012 to announce it, and there was all this hype from Peter Diamandis and all these billionaires with more money than God involved. I would have expected more progress by now, and that the company backed by so many immensely wealthy people wouldn’t be so dependent on government funding from Luxembourg.
The company has been advertising on social media that they’re hiring, so that seems to be a good sign.
PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — Ten years ago, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft set sail for the two most massive bodies in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter: giant asteroid Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres. The mission was designed to deliver new knowledge about these small but intricate worlds, which hold clues to the formation of planets in our solar system.
CLEVELAND (NASA PR) — As NASA looks to explore deeper into our solar system, one of the key areas of interest is studying worlds that can help researchers better understand our solar system and the universe around us. One of the next destinations in this knowledge-gathering campaign is a rare world located in the asteroid belt called Psyche.